SP&T News

Air Canada launches facial recognition pilot program

February 24, 2023  By  SP&T Staff

In a pilot project currently underway, Air Canada’s digital identification is now available for customers departing from Vancouver International Airport (YVR) when boarding select flights to Winnipeg, and for eligible customers entering the Air Canada Café at Toronto Pearson International Airport. (CNW Group/Air Canada)

Air Canada recently announced a digital identification pilot project which will allow some customers to use facial recognition technology as a means to confirm their identity.

At press time, the pilot was available for customers departing Vancouver International Airport for select flights to Winnipeg and for customers via Air Canada Café at Toronto Pearson International Airport. Air Canada said it plans to extend the pilot project to other Canadian airports. According to the airline, eligible customers will be notified prior to their arrival at the airport and provided with instructions on how to create a digital faceprint. Customers who do not wish to participate can continue as usual with their government-issued ID and boarding pass.

Air Canada says the digital identification is available as an enrollment feature on the Air Canada app. Biometric data is encrypted and stored on the customer’s smartphone and customer provides consent for the data to be used on the day of travel. The data is only retained for up to 36 hours.

“Many of our customers already utilize digital credentials to simplify their daily activities such as unlocking mobile phones, entering workplaces, verifying identification during financial transactions and more. We are very excited to now take a leadership position in Canada and test digital identification using facial recognition technology to validate customer identification quickly, securely and accurately at select airport touchpoints,” said Craig Landry, executive vice-president and chief operations officer, Air Canada, in a statement.


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